Anurag Thakur cancels China trip after Arunachal athletes are denied entry to Asian Games 2023

Sweta GuptaSeptember 22, 2023 | 17:03 IST

Anurag Thakur, the Indian Minister for Youth Affairs, has canceled his trip to the Asian Games in Hangzhou after Chinese authorities denied accreditation and entry to Indian athletes from Arunachal Pradesh.

India lodged a strong protest against China's discrimination against its athletes, resulting in the cancellation of the sports minister's trip.

Earlier, in July, the Indian government had canceled the wushu team's journey to China for the World University Games because three female athletes from Arunachal Pradesh were issued stapled visas by the Chinese authorities.

A stapled visa is issued by a country that claims a specific area belongs to them, even though they lack control over it. China's claim on India's Arunachal Pradesh is a classic example.

The Asian Games occur every four years, and this year, they are in Hangzhou, commencing on Saturday, September 23.

What happened

  • A "strong protest" was made in both New Delhi and Beijing because China deliberately blocked some of the athletes.

  • Three female martial arts fighters from Arunachal Pradesh were approved by the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee to participate, but they couldn't download their accreditation cards, which serve as visas for China.

  • The rest of the Indian squad departed for the Games.

  • The Indian 12-member wushu team, including eight players, one coach, and three officials, had been eagerly preparing for the games.

  • However, the excitement turned into disappointment when it was revealed that three female athletes from Arunachal Pradesh faced visa issues.

  • The Chinese embassy returned their passports and issued stapled visas instead of regular ones.

  • Instead of receiving their visas, they were instructed to resubmit their documents on August 8.

  • The team's officials applied for visas on July 16, with the hope of smooth and timely processing.

  • The others faced no such issue.

Government reaction

  • This move was met with strong disapproval from the Indian government, prompting the cancellation of the wushu team's participation in the upcoming World University Games hosted by China.

  • The Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs and Sports of India, Anurag Thakur, canceled his trip to China as a protest against China's actions.

  • The government put the wushu team 'on hold' before going on their trip.

  • The wushu team returned from Delhi's IGI airport at around 2.30 am, while athletes from other sports proceeded with their journey to Chengdu.

  • They are working with the Chinese government to ensure that all Indian athletes receive regular visas for the games.



  • The 'stapled visa' issue stems from a long-standing disagreement between India and China over Arunachal Pradesh, a region in India's northeast.
  • China claims this area as its own, but India doesn't agree.
  • A 'stapled visa' is a type of visa that's attached to a separate piece of paper instead of being stamped directly in the passport.
  • China started giving these visas to Indian citizens from Arunachal Pradesh in 2009.
  • This incident might be China's way of sending a message to India about this dispute.

China recently published its 2023 "standard map," asserting claims over Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin, Taiwan, and the disputed South China Sea. In response, India strongly protested through diplomatic channels, stating that such actions only make resolving boundary issues more complex.

Also Read: China issues stapled visa to Arunachal wushu players, India cancels their departure

Last updated: September 22, 2023 | 17:03
    Read more!
    Recommended Stories